creative: bestspots

januaryFrom the wasteland of Super Bowl advertising, a tiny fist rose like a flower toward the sun. Easily the most striking image of the day, a power-saluting baby’s arm–
animatronics, actually–climaxed an affecting and funny commercial for Oxygen Media, the 1-year-old women’s cable network/Web site. In the ad, a newborn girl throws off her pink hat–a symbol of gender stereotyping–to the song “I Am Woman.” Before long, pink hats and blankets are flying across the maternity ward. “Oxygen is not about labels,” says Amy Watt, group creative director and art director at Mullen in Wenham, Mass. “It’s about empowering women to lean into their lives.” Wanting to use the song–but not quite sure how–the Mullen creative team (see page 34) decided against having an adult raise her fist. “A baby made more sense,” Watt says. “An adult would have been heavy-handed. We wanted to keep it light and humorous.” The effort expands the shop’s branding campaign, which, refreshingly, refuses to take cheap shots at men. “We want to celebrate women and move women forward,” says Watt. “To do that, why would we need [to male-bash]?” The next round of ads will be out in the spring or summer, she says, continuing the branding and exploring Oxygen’s programming and services.
Azteca Mexican Restaurants
Agency: WongDoody, Seattle CD: Tracy Wong ACD: John Schofield ADs: Mark Watson, Jason Black CWs: Dean Saling, Michael McCullough Agency prod.: Craig Potter Prod. co.: Ober Lenz Dir.: Tony Ober Editor: Jeff Kessler, Rocket Pictures Sound design: Vince Werner, Clatter & Din
The greatest guilty pleasure of them all? No, not Regis and Kathy Lee–Hispanic soap operas. Knowledge of Spanish is not required, and the acting is so bad, it’s good. In this parody spot for a restaurant chain, a crisis engulfs the Ramos family. “Hector has been hurt in a terrible accident,” says a man. “He can’t remember who he is or even his recipe for fajitas burritos. He just goes ‘Amnesia.'” Cut to Memorial General Hospital, where a doctor tells the family, “I’m afraid there’s little chance he’ll snap out of it.” But after tasting a burrito, Hector stirs from his coma and says, “Need more cilantro.” Then he dies. VO: “Azteca: Obsessed with great food.”
Agency: DDB, Chicago Chief creative: Bob Scarpelli Group CD: Don Pogany CD/AD: Adam Glickman CD/CW: Craig Feigen Exec. prod.: Greg Popp Prod. co.: Public Works Dir.: Roenberg Editor:
Bob Mori, Cosmo Street Music: Elias & Associates
In a Western movie, Rex the wonder dog blows his line. “Cut. Cut,” yells the director. Over walks the producer. “The dog is supposed to cry,” he says. “So let’s do one more–or you’re finished!” In a last-ditch effort to get the dog to howl, the director goes face-to-face with Rex, telling the mutt to “think back to your worst day. That’s the motivation.” Rex does exactly that, recalling a blissful scene: As a Budweiser truck drives past, Rex follows it across the yard and jumps over
some hedges in pursuit–only to crash headfirst into a parked van. “Ow-wooooooooooooo,” bays the dog. “Cut it. Print that,” says the director.
Whassup girlfriend/web
Agency: DDB, Chicago Chief creative: Bob Scarpelli Group CD: Don Pogany ACD/ CW: Vinny Warren ADs: Chuck Taylor, Justin Reardon Agency prod.: Ken Kwiatt Prod. co.: C&C Storm Films Dir.: Charles Stone III Editor: Livio Sanchez, Lookinglass
While a couple watches ice skating on TV, the telephone rings. “Whassup?” ask three guys all leaning into the receiver, their tongues hanging out. The man returns the “Whassup?” then says, “What you all doing?” “Just watching the game, having a Bud,” replies one of the friends. “What’s up with you?” “Watching the game, having a Bud,” the man says. At that moment, his girlfriend sees a double salchow and makes happy noises. “What game you watching?” asks the befuddled caller. “It doesn’t get more magical than this,” says the ice-skating commentator in the background. He could be talking about this ad–commercials don’t get any more real than this.
Charles Schwab
retirement home
Agency: BBDO, N.Y. Chief creative:
Ted Sann Sr. ECD: Charlie Miesmer
Sr. CD/CW: Jimmy Siegel AD: Ron Palumbo Agency prod.: J.D. Williams Prod. co.: Headquarters Dir.: David
Cornell Editor: J.J. Lask, Crew Cuts
At the Shady Rest retirement home, some recent arrivals settle
in. Basketball star Charles Barkley snoozes. Ice skater Tara Lipinski knits and purls. Baseball star Wade Boggs and football player Barry Sanders try their hand at shuffleboard. And boxer Evander Holyfield plays bingo. VO: “These days, it’s never too early to think about retirement. Maybe that’s why so many people go to In a few steps, you can open a Roth, a traditional IRA or a rollover; invest in a range of funds; and plan for the future. Because retirement comes sooner than you think.” On screen: Mike Ditka, ex-coach of the NFL’s New Orleans Saints, who “Retired Thursday.”
Interview 3 (Kevin, college)
Agency: Merkley Newman Harty, N.Y. ECDs: Marty Orzio, Andy Hirsch, Randy Saitta AD: Phil Toledano CW: Jeff Vinick Agency prod.: Gary Grossman Prod. co.:
Headquarters Dir.: Lloyd Stein Editor: Stephen Jess, Lost Planet Sound mixer: Tommy Jucarone, Sound Lounge
Last year, Mike and Mike launched In this deliberately amateurish ad, viewers get to meet the people who put their money into the
e-business. Mike’s teacher, who invested his pension: “I’ve been making technical things sound simple for 25 years. Where’s my” Mike’s neighbors, who invested their son’s college fund: “If this doesn’t work, Kevin probably won’t go to college,” says Dad. (In the background, a spastic Kevin keeps falling down.) “College might not be in the cards anyway.” Back to M&M, who beg viewers to visit their Web site; then the tagline: “Computer stuff. Computer stuff explained.”
Corona Extra
lime football
Agency: The Richards Group, Dallas CD/AD: Jim Baldwin CD/CW: Mike Renfro Agency prod.: Rob Handy Prod. co.: Nyrdle Films Dir.: Peter Nyrdle Editor: Doug Bryan, Post Op
At long last, a Corona ad that offers content (not to be confused with content, which is the prevailing attitude of the venerable, visually driven campaign). In this Super Bowl spot, two bottles of beer stand at one end of a table and the ubiquitous hands place a slice of lime at the other. The object: “kick” a field goal, or flick the lime between the bottles. Now, every boy growing up in America has played a variation of this game, usually with a paper football in a school cafeteria. Of course, those little boys are now beer-drinking, football-watching men. The usual beach noise–breaking waves, soft breeze, etc.–fills the sound track. Tagline: “Change your whole lattitude.” Does anyone ever drink Corona in the mountains?
Dairy Management
Agency: DDB, Chicago Chief creative: Bob Scarpelli Group CD: Don Pogany CD/AD: Adam Glickman CD/CW: Craig Feigen Exec. prod.: Greg Popp Prod. co.: Propaganda Dir.: David Kellogg Editor: Glen Martin, Nomad Audio engineer: David Gerbosi, Chicago Recording Co.
“No, thank you,” says a presidential candidate to a little girl holding a food tray. “I don’t like cheese.” The audience is stunned. “The Hayes campaign stumbled today,” says a TV anchorman. After the cheese flap, voters refuse to shake his hand, babies hate him and Bob Dole calls Hayes a doofus. The election is lost. Tagline: “Ahh, the power of cheese.”

Agency: Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, S.F. CDs: Jeffrey Goodby, Rich Silverstein ACD/AD: Dave Gray ACD/CW: Gerry Graf Agency prod.: Tod Puckett Prod. co.: Hungry Man Dir.: Bryan Buckley Editors: Michael Douglas, Ian MacKenzie, MacKenzie Cutler Music: Elias & Associates Sound: Marc Healy, MacKenzie Cutler
In a garage, a monkey turns on a boom box and dances with two men. The men are good, but the chimp is better. Super: “Well, we just wasted 2 million bucks. What are you doing with your money?” VO: “It’s time for E*Trade.”
emergency room
Agency: Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, S.F. CDs: Jeffrey Goodby, Rich Silverstein ACD/AD: Dave Gray ACD/CW: Gerry Graf Agency prod.: Tod Puckett Prod. co.: Hungry Man Dir.: Bryan Buckley Editors: Michael Douglas, Ian MacKenzie, MacKenzie Cutler Music: Elias & Associates Sound: Marc Healy, MacKenzie Cutler
A man is rushed into an ER. “Doctor, I think you should see this,” says a nurse. “Oh my,” replies the doc. “He’s got money coming out the wazoo.” A hospital clerk asks about insurance. “Insurance?” says a second doctor. “He’s got money coming out the wazoo.”

cat herders
Agency: Fallon McElligott, Minneapolis CD: David Lubars AD: Dean Hanson CW: Greg Hahn Exec. prod.: Judy Brink Agency prod.: Marty Wetherall Prod. co.: Hungry Man Dir.: John O’Hagan Editor: Gordon Carey, FilmCore Music: Asche & Spencer
“Herding cats–don’t ever let anyone tell you it’s easy,” says a cowboy straight out of central casting. Best Spots believes him. Filmic visuals and clever dialogue propel this funny ad. Perhaps lost in the shuffle: EDS (people think cats, not client). Super: “In a sense this is what we do. We bring together information, ideas and technology, and make them go where you want.”
Federal Express
Agency: BBDO, N.Y. Chief creative: Ted Sann Sr. ECD: Michael Patti Sr. CD: Don Schneider Sr. CD/AD: Donna Weinheim CD/CW: Jonathan Rodgers Agency prods.: Hyatt Choate, Anne Duffy Music prod.: Rani Vaz Prod. co.: Pytka Dir.: Joe Pytka Editor: Sherri Margulies, Crew Cuts Visual effects: Johnny Semerad, Quiet Man
The Munchkins hit puberty during the “Lollipop Guild” song–their voices lowering. But a FedEx truck touches down, with a package of helium balloons. Happily, the helium returns the voices to a higher plane. The client recently pulled this ad because it shows people ingesting a foreign substance. You can run but you can’t hide from the PC police–not even in Munchkinland.

the premature pour
Agency: Lowe Lintas & Partners, N.Y. Chief creative/CW: Lee Garfinkel ECD: Gary Goldsmith Creative group head: C.J. Waldman AD: Ralph Yznaga CW: Steve Hanratty Exec. prod.: Bob Nelson Prod. co.: Tate
& Partners Dir.: Baker Smith Editors: Ian MacKenzie, Dave Koza, MacKenzie Cutler
Their eyes meet: A smiling, lip-
biting babe pours a beer into a glass, mesmerizing a fellow across the bar. He reciprocates, but his pour is, well, premature. Got to love Al Green’s vocals.
Jack in the Box
Jack Raps
Agency: Kowloon Wholesale Seafood Co., Santa Monica, Calif. CD/AD/CW/Dir.: Dick Sittig Agency prod.: Nancy Koch Prod. co.: Dir.: Brendan O’Carroll, Oasis Music: Wojahn Brothers
Super: “Jack raps with young people.” Visual: Jack in the Box glad-handing teenagers. Sitting in a circle on the floor, Jack fields questions. “Umm how do you know if you’re a lesbian?” asks a girl. After a dramatic pause, Jack says, “Don’t be afraid to talk about burgers OK, I’ll start ” and he talks about the Jumbo Jack sandwich. “That’s where I’m coming from,” he concludes. “Thanks, that helps,” says the lesbian to be.

Man on the Moon
Agency: McCann-Erickson, N.Y. CD: Joyce King Thomas AD: Tim Bayne CW: Paul Hackett Agency prod.: Joe Cole Editor: Sam Welch, Homestead Editorial Music: Big Foote
Visual: Apollo lunar launch footage. Supers: “Business trip: $400,000,000.” “Calls to the office: $230,000.” “Rental car: $45,000,000.” “Finding time to squeeze in a little golf: priceless.” Final shot: Alan Shepard swinging a club on the moon. It’s a clever way to pitch plastic to the golfing set.
Job Shadow
Agency: Mullen, Wenham, Mass. CD: Edward Boches AD: Rick Wallace CWs: Mark Moll, Martin Davidson Agency prod.: Lisa Sulda Prod. co.: Dirs.: Rick LeMoine, Steve Miller Editor: Owen Plotkin, Editing Concepts Composers/Sound designers: Jack Livesey, Peter Nashel, Duotone Audio Group
Super: “This February, share your job with a kid.” A boy talks into a doctor’s stethoscope. A girl reworks a company’s finances. And in the back of a cable TV truck, a kid asks, “What did you do before this?” “Ah, what did any of us do before cable?” replies the repairman. “proudly sponsors National Job Shadow Day.”

Mountain Dew
Mock opera
Agency: BBDO, N.Y. Chief creative: Ted Sann Sr. ECD: Michael Patti Sr. CD/AD/CW: Bill Bruce CD: Doris Cassar Agency prods.: Gary Delemeester, Maria Amato Music prod.: Loren Parkins Prod. co.: HSI Dir.: Samuel Bayer Editor: John Murray, Nomad
The Dew dudes rewrite the words to Queen’s rock anthem, “Bohemian Rhapsody,” with hilarious results. Flying cans of Dew zoom past mountain bikers, rock climbers, snowboarders and into the dudes’ waiting grasp. Lightning-paced and action-packed, this ad made Best Spots feel young again.
Celebrity cruise
Agency: Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore. CDs: Bob Moore, Hal Curtis AD: Andy Fackrell CW: Dylan Lee Agency prod.: Vic Palumbo Prod. cos.: Mars Media, PAR Dir.: Johan Renck Editor: Johan Wik, Chimney Pot Music: Erik Thorsell, Mekaniken
On a cruise ship, Mark McGwire takes some BP. When one guy fires a beanball, McGwire charges after him. From a first-person POV, the guy knocks over passengers, crushes busboys and blows out Terrell Davis’ knee. When the guy stops to tie his Nikes, McGwire catches up and throws him down the ship’s ventilator. At, viewers can choose a number of story lines to end the spot. It’s a daring marriage of TV and the Internet.

Agency: Leo Burnett, Chicago Managing CD: Lisa Bennett CDs: Victor LaPorte, Scott English ACD/CW: Taylor Heydman AD: Kevin Butler Exec. prods.: Ron Nelken, Chris Rossiter Agency prod.: Veronica Puc Prod. co.: Backyard Productions Dir.: Kevin Smith Editor: Jan Maitland, Edit Sweet Music: Tomandandy
Goofing on The Gap, this spot puts not-so-beautiful people in T-shirts to
sell not-your-father’s Oldsmobiles. Super: “It’s not what everybody else is doing.”
Our Dad
Agency: Black Rocket, S.F. CD/AD: Steve Stone CD/CW: Bob Kerstetter Agency prod.: Stacy McClain Prod. co.: Tool of North America Dir.: Erich Joiner Editor: Bob Frisk, Phoenix Editorial
It was a big carpentry weekend for the fellow in this spot. He built a swing set (more like modern art), French doors (that collapse on his wife) and a doghouse (with no door). Super: “Tools. Materials. Advice. Sanity.” VO: “ We’re here to help.”

Oxygen Media
I am baby
Agency: Mullen, Wenham, Mass. CD: Edward Boches AD: Amy Watt CWs: Spencer Deadrick, Kara Goodrich Agency prod.: Sarah Monaco Prod. co.: Tate & Partners Dir.: Baker Smith Editor: Andre Betz, Geoff Hounsell, Bug Editorial
Another girl is born in a hospital’s maternity ward, and a nurse puts a pink hat on the newborn. Walking by a little later, the nurse finds the hat on the floor; she puts it back on the baby’s head. Then more pink hats hit the floor. Before long, pink things are flying across the room. To “I Am Woman,” a tiny arm raises skyward and makes a fist. Oxygen is “A new voice. For women, by women.” Was this Super Sunday’s best ad? Best Spots says yes.
Don’t Go
Agency: TBWA/Chiat/Day, S.F. ECD: Chuck McBride Co-CD: Rob Smiley AD: Lew Willig CW: Scott Duchon Agency prod.: Candace Bowes Asst. prod.: Laurie Wunsch Prod. co.: Partizan Dir.: Doug Nichol Editor: Doug Walker, FilmCore Music: Jonathan Elias, Elias & Associates
As he drives away, a man says to his sad-looking dog: “I’ve got to go out to a lot of stores to get what you like. I’ll be back.” Cue up the Sock Puppet, who sings “If You Leave Me Now.” It’s another funny ad in a campaign that’s developed a life–and a cult following–of its own.
We gotta get outTA this place
Agency: Hill/Holliday, N.Y. CD: David Wecal AD/CW: Ernest Lupinacci
Exec. prod.: Deanna Leodas Prod.:
Will McDonald Prod. co.: Epoch Films Dir.: Phil Morrison Editor: Steve Hamilton, Mad Mad Judy Composer: Scott Liggett, Alan Ett Music Group
Mythic barely describes the William Shatner campaign. Riffing on old rock tunes, Shatner does what he does best–act badly. Improvising on the lyrics of “We Gotta Get Outta This Place,” Captain Kirk uses Priceline to find a five-star hotel, getting “red-carpet treatment at shag-carpet prices.”
I enjoy being a girl
Agency: BBDO, N.Y. Chief creative: Ted Sann Sr. CD/CW: Jimmy Siegel ADs: Tony LaMonte, Don Jacobs Agency prods.: David Frankel, Sarah Spitz, Jeff Stock Prod. co.: Headquarters Dir.: David Cornell Editor: David Lee, Crew Cuts
To the strains of “I Enjoy Being a Girl,” a woman pole vaulter runs a country mile before reaching the vaulting area. VO: “This Olympics, women will be clearing a few more hurdles with the aid of a 14-foot pole. All you need is Visa, the only card accepted at the first women’s pole vault in history.”

World Wrestling Federation
WWF Beauty Pageant
Agency: WWF Entertainment, Stamford, Conn. CD/CW/Dir.: David Sahadi AD: Henry Auli CW: Chris Chambers Agency prod.: Laura Valesquez Prod. co.: Big Time Productions Editor: K.C. Acompora, WWF Entertainment Sound design: Chris Argento, WWF Entertainment
After Miss Congeniality 2000 is named, the runner-up loses it and attacks the winner. A cat fight ensues, and all 50 beauty contestants join the melee. “What’s gotten into them?” asks a judge. VO: “WWF entertainment. It ain’t pretty.” True, this idea is hardly new, but how often do you get to see Miss Connecticut win anything? (Stamford is home sweet home to the WWF.